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Body lies on road for 4 hours, fuels fury

A man speaks at a rally protesting Michael Brown’s death. (AFP)

Ferguson, Aug. 24: Just after noon on Saturday, August 9, Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer on Canfield Drive.

For about four hours, in the unrelenting summer sun, his body remained where he fell.

Neighbours were horrified by the gruesome scene: Brown, 18, face down in the middle of the street, blood streaming from his head. They ushered their children into rooms that faced away from Canfield Drive. They called friends and local news stations to tell them what had happened. They posted on Twitter and Facebook and recorded shaky cellphone videos that would soon make their way to the national news.

Brown probably could not have been revived, and the time that his body lay in the street may ultimately have no bearing on the investigations into whether the shooting was justified. But local officials say that the image of Brown’s corpse in the open set the scene for what would become a combustible worldwide story of police tactics and race in America, and left some of the officials asking why.

“The delay helped fuel the outrage,” said Patricia Bynes, a committeewoman in Ferguson. “It was very disrespectful to the community and the people who live there. It also sent the message from law enforcement that ‘we can do this to you any day, any time, in broad daylight, and there’s nothing you can do about it’.”

Two weeks after Brown’s death, interviews with law enforcement officials and a review of police logs make clear that a combination of factors, some under police control and some not, contributed to the time lapse in removing his body.

 
 
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